The PhD program is organized on a tailor-made basis with each individual researcher. The program is organized within the a.pass research center, that facilitates the research of the research coordinator, the associate researchers, and the independent researchers (see below), but also communicates closely with the post-master program. Concretely this means that a PhD researcher applies to develop (part of) her trajectory within the a.pass environment. This can happen in the pre-PhD phase, or at any time during the PhD trajectory. Since a.pass can only support PhD trajectories, but not grant or evaluate the PhD certificate, the researcher has to find, or be already associated with a university and a university supervisor. When starting a PhD project in a.pass, the researcher and the research coordinator together make up a work contract that stipulates the temporal structure (how long will the researcher be working in a.pass? how many times does she plan to come back?), the foreseen research steps that will be developed within the a.pass environment and the public outcome of the research within that period of time.
This contract then will be signed by the researcher, the a.pass research coordinator, the supervisor at the university, and the head of the department of the university.
Researchers can join a.pass in the preparation phase of the research, to strengthen, precise, delineate and develop the research proposal for being admitted into a PhD program at a university. In this phase a.pass offers mainly feedback in the process of the dossier making, and if possible also assists in networking, contacting possible supervisors, and organizing meetings. When the PhD has already started, a.pass offers a collaborative environment for the development of the research, leaving the researcher the option to participate in the workshops of the post-master program, organize workshops or work groups themselves, choosing mentors etc… PhD researchers are strongly encouraged to open up their research trajectory to a larger audience in any form they find useful. Next to the program, a.pass also offers feedback through the meetings of the research center group activities.
In that sense every PhD-trajectory is quite different, but what is appreciated the most in the feedback from the Phd participants is the opportunity to work in a collective environment, test out their research hypotheses with a larger group of participants, get real-time feedback on their work, and be part of a critical and supportive team of researchers that freely exchange, critique and acknowledge each other’s work.